books

Upcoming Beinart Book Already Causing A Stir

02/28/2012
Editor And Publisher

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen calls it “important and timely for the future of Israel.” A Jerusalem Post writer says it is “banal” and “brooding,” and “merely parroting a well-known critique.” And the just-named next Jerusalem bureau chief for the Times is already in trouble among some in the Jewish community for praising it.

The Post-9/11 Novel and the Jews

 There's been a glut of 9/11 books published on the eve of this year's 10th anniversary.  But all the new-ness overshadows the rich bevy of writing that's been published over the past decade since the attacks.  Literary critics have been debating what effect, if any, Sept. 11 has had on fiction in particular in recent days, but one of the best essays I've read is this one by Adam Kirsch.

From Jewish Westchester To Radical Islam

Deborah Baker charts the complicated, often disturbing transformation of Margaret Marcus into Maryam Jameelah.
06/07/2011
Staff Writer

The strangeness of Maryam Jameelah’s path to fundamentalist Islam is a major reason why many of her Muslim readers find her so attractive.

 The Convert Book Cover

Getting Smart About Giving

Nonprofit advisers encourage foundations to think strategically about their philanthropy.
06/07/2011
Staff Writer

 On June 13, Joel Fleishman, a professor of law and public policy at Duke University and former president of the Atlantic Philanthropic Service Company, and Thomas Tierney, co-founder of The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit adviser to the nonprofit sector, will speak at the 92nd Street Y about their new book: “Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results” (Public Affairs: 2011). The Jewish Week spoke with Fleishman while he was in Israel working on a third report for the Avi Chai Foundation detailing the progress of its spend-down.

From Maimonides to venture philanthropy: Joel Fleishman, co-author of the new book “Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results.”

Bloom’s Day (Or Year)

At 80, and with three new books, the literary critic-as-provocateur is still picking fights over the Bible, Kabbalah and Shakespeare.
04/18/2011
Staff Writer

Harold Bloom, the eminent literary critic at Yale, will turn 81 this summer, and he does not plan to exit the stage quietly.

“Christianity? Christianity?” he said in a recent phone interview, when asked about his views on the Christian interpretation of Judaism. “The New Testament is a violently anti-Semitic reading of the Hebrew Bible.”

Bloom’s latest book is a defense of his career-making “The Anxiety of Influence.

The Trouble They’ve Seen

The arc of two new memoirs moves from heartbreak to a hard-won affirmation of life.
04/18/2011
Jewish Week Book Critic

Bad things happen to a lot of people. Some very good books have resulted.

“Life can survive in the constant shadow of illness,” Diane Ackerman writes in “One Hundred Names for Love.” Toshi Otsuki

Dr. Evil, The Sex Doctor, and Lost Science of Judaism!

In case you missed it, The New York Times had a nice piece yesterday on the discovery of 1,000 books for a long forgotten academic subfield: the "Science of Judaism."  Now dormant, the Science of Judaism was an attempt by German scholars to study Judaism as a kind of lost ancient culture--how scholars today might study, for instance, Greco-Roman culture, or Egyptology.

From My Book Shelf To Yours

One of the perks of my job is receiving new books from publishers all over the world. Some of these books are wonderful; some (often self-published) are so bad they make me sad for the trees that gave their limbs to gratify the authors.

Here is a sampling of three very different books of note I’ve received lately and recommend (in no particular order):

Bread Alone is Not Enough

Efforts to get Jewish books to Holocaust survivors in Europe
02/22/2011

In the spring of 1946, Zalman Grinberg and Josef Rosenzaft, representatives of Jewish Holocaust survivors and Displaced Persons (DPs) in the American and British zones of post-World War II Europe, respectively, visited the United States. “Bread alone is not enough,” they poignantly pleaded to American Jews, “Send us poets, writers and singers to show us that Jewish life is not dead.”

Presentation of donation of books to JDC from the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America, c. 1945.

The Road Back To Haiti

New story in 'Haiti Noir' collection brings Mark Kurlansky back to the island nation.
01/19/2011
Staff Writer

Nearly all of the 18 short stories in the new "Haiti Noir" collection are written by Haitians. The book's editor, the prominent Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat, made an exception, however, for Mark Kurlansky.

A 62-year-old Jewish writer who lives in New York City, Kurlansky is well known for his best-selling histories of food - on salt, on cod, on oysters. But writers that know him well, like Danticat, are well aware of his longtime involvement with Haiti.

Mark Kurlansky
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